Old-timer Müller marches on
After the departing of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben at the end of last season, Thomas Müller has become the longest-serving player in the FC Bayern squad. Since being promoted to the first-team squad as a talented 19-year-old in summer 2009, the academy product has been part of the furniture at the record German champions. But as the 29-year-old prepares to go into his 11th season, he doesn't believe his role has changed.
"Actually, not much has changed for me," explained Müller on Thursday following training at the team's camp in Rottach-Egern. "I was one of the more senior players beforehand and I've always tried to take on responsibility. I've been at the club for a fairly long time, I know the processes very well and I care about the club's standing, how we play and how we present ourselves. Nothing has changed massively in that respect."
Eleventh season at Bayern
However, many things have changed in the day-to-day life of a footballer during his 10 years as a professional. "In the football industry there's now a completely different concept of looking after your body," highlighted Müller. "The game has become more intensive, and therefore so has the physical preparation. Mobility and strength have become a much bigger part of training."
Even as he approaches 30, Müller has been leading the way in the sweaty training sessions in Tegernsee, and he doesn't see his role on the pitch as being any different. "Having been in football for such a long time, my strengths and weaknesses should be pretty clearly defined," said the Bavarian, whose strengths "certainly come to the fore best in midfield". He described it as a "half position, where I'm always found between the lines".
He may have to fulfil that role again on Thursday evening in the friendly against FC Rottach-Egern, which he's looking forward to. "It should just be a nice occasion, something for the fans and the town here." Nevertheless, Bayern will be taking the game against the amateur side seriously. "Of course we want to play serious football, just play and keep the ball moving."